Part 9: Ballet of the unhatched chicks

“Ow!”

“Lie down.”

“I can’t lie down! The house is full of dead Humans!”

“Never you mind. You’ve got stuff to do!”

“I don’t want the first thing that my child sees to be a heap of dead bodies!”

“Look. Infants can’t see further than maybe one foot. It won’t see a thing of all this.”

Interalia glared at Raven. “You are not getting the point.”

“No, you aren’t getting the point. Are you going to drag dead bodies all over the place when your water’s already broken? Leave that to Griggin. Get in bed.”

Interalia opened her mouth to argue, then accepted the inevitable and gently lowered herself onto the bed. Griggin poked his head round the door.

“Interalia? Miss Raven? I’ll need to summon some help. I need Nix, Sister Springwater, probably not Lenna just yet; she is looking after Bieslook.”

“Go to Mathias Shaw first,” said Raven. “He’ll want to know about our guests. And he can probably help getting rid of them.”

“I will do that. Meanwhile, please come with me for a minute.”

Griggin took Raven to the front door and pointed at a small equipment locker.

“These are the controls to the house defences. When I’m gone, pull this lever. That will bar all the windows and doors, and activate the doorstep sanitiser.”

Raven looked. “Doorstep sanitiser.”

“Indeed,” said Griggin. “Now when someone walks up to the door, they will trip the trigger plate, and the alarm will go off. When that happens, look through the periscope here.” Griggin pointed at a pair of lenses. “If you do not like what you see, lift the lid on this control marked STERILISE, turn it clockwise one full turn, then press and hold it for three seconds.”

“Lift lid, turn, press and hold. Got it. Wouldn’t it be easier just to have a big red button to bash?”

Griggin gave a little grunt. “That’s what it used to be. I’ve had to idiot-proof that design a bit. Turn on the machine when I’m out.”

“Um… How do I open the door if it’s good people?”

“Ah. Push the lever the other way. You can also open just the door by turning the valve next to it. Now sit tight, Miss Raven. Help is under way.”

Raven handed Interalia a steaming mug of tea, on the grounds that it couldn’t hurt, and fussed a bit with her blankets. Interalia suddenly winced. Raven took the tea out of her hands, and handed it back a few moments later.

“Ow,” said Interalia. “Damn. Forgot to time it.”

“Fifteen minutes,” said Raven. “Relax, you’ve got a while to go yet.”

“What do you know about this anyway?”

“I was in a maternity ward once.”

“What?” Interalia looked at Raven. “You were a nurse?”

“Not… exactly,” said Raven. “Long story.”

Interalia gave Raven a friendly look. Friendly but persistent.

“I wasn’t on the medical staff.”

Interalia smiled.

“Alright, I was nicking the medical supplies and I had to hide. So I stuck a pillow up my shirt and got into one of the beds. Saw at least six new arrivals before I got away.”

Interalia fell back into the pillows laughing. “You got away with that?”

Raven studied her fingernails. “All it takes is a little acting talent. Anyway, Humans don’t start pushing until the contractions are about two minutes apart and last for, oh, a little over half a minute. What it is for Gnomes, I don’t know. Anyway, it’s going to be more painful, more often, and last longer.”

Interalia blew on her tea. “Your bedside manner really stinks.”

Raven pulled a chair to the wall, sat down on it and leant back.

“What am I, a healer?”


“Who wants to know?” The man at the entrance of SI:7 fixed Griggin with a carefully practiced nonchalant stare.

“If you have to ask, you’re not as good as I gave you credit for,” said Griggin. “Now please let me talk to Mathias Shaw. I have important news for him.”

“Do you think the Boss talks to little runts like you? Give the news to me, and I’ll see that he gets it.”

“Has no trouble talking to me, Dobson.” A green man about Griggin’s height walked up. “Don’t you like short people?”

The man quickly turned round, stood to attention.

“Nosir. I mean yessir!”

“Ye gods, Dobson. Your answer is to make yourself as tall as possible? I ought to kick your butt for that. Get out of my face for a while, will ya?”

Dobson’s brain kicked in, and he made himself scarce as only a Rogue can. The Goblin shook his head and turned to Griggin.

“Sorry about that. He’s new. First couple of weeks, they all think they’re starring in a Sentinel novel. I’m Renzik. What can I do for you?”

“Griggin Steambender at your service. I have some news about the gang who have been operating out of the Old Barracks. I understand Mr. Shaw takes a personal interest.”

Renzik laughed. “Oh those pillocks. He sure does. What with the new Horde initiatives, Theramore falling, and Anduin Wrynn going missing in Pandaria, we’re a bit stretched, so the boss kindly took it on himself to lend a hand in the case involving a pretty Human girl.”

“She is lucky that she still is, Mr. Renzik. We let her stay in our house, and we were attacked.”

Renzik sneered. “Oh that is a bit of a bugger. Everyone alright?”

“My daughter-in-law is having a baby,” said Griggin. “Apart from that, only the attackers got hurt. I have two dead bodies for your forensic experts to squint over.” Griggin carefully forgot to mention the mess of organic matter in his basement. The last thing he wanted was a bunch of SI:7 operatives prying in there.

“Hang on, that takes nine months, doesn’t it?”

Griggin’s eyes narrowed. “Anything between one hour and twenty from the moment the waters break. Now could you please see to it that my house is cleared of Human remains? I have to find my son and a priestess.”


Nix was sitting in the front of a classroom, which was a survival technique. All the teachers instinctively expected the troublemakers to be in the back, and focused all their attention on that side, mostly oblivious to what was going on right under their noses. They were being instructed on the political situation in Kalimdor, which was currently in a state of upheaval. Now that Deathwing had been defeated, the Orc leader, Garrosh Hellscream, had unilaterally declared the uneasy truce between Horde and Alliance over, and reduced the Human settlement of Theramore to piles of rubble. The Theramore leader, Jaina Proudmoore, had escaped with her life and was now bringing her considerable political influence to bear on the Kirin Tor who ruled Dalaran. Things were about to get interesting, and of course, it fell to Rogues of all sort to make sense of all the machinations and happenings. Nix was making careful notes for Interalia, who had been in here as long as her pregnancy allowed.

There was a knock on the door, and the teacher looked round, annoyed. Griggin stood in the doorway.

“Pardon the interruption, Mrs. Band. I need Nix to come home, please.”

“And why would that be?”

Nix closed his book, dropped his things in his bag and got up.

“Interalia. Gone into labour, has she Dad?”

“Indeed,” said Griggin. “I’ll fill you in on the way to the Cathedral.”

They ran out. When they were out of earshot of anyone who mattered, Griggin turned round and stopped Nix.

“Nix, before we start rushing about, there’s something you need to know.”

Nix’ face froze. “Interalia. Is she alright?”

“Yes, yes. As right as it is possible to be under the circumstances. The Manor was attacked. Miss Raven and Interalia repelled the attack. I was below, working.”

“They attacked our home,” said Nix. “They attacked my wife. My child.” Nix’ voice was perfectly steady, his face as still as a statue.

“That,” he said, “is not on.”


Bieslook stood on a stool in a booth at the targeting range and raised her hands towards the target.

“Woosh,” she said.

A perfect globe of plasma shot from between her hands to one of the empty bottles sitting on the brick wall, and sent it flying in a shower of shards. Quickly and neatly, the other bottles followed.

“Good shooting, Bies,” said Lenna. “Now keep the power down, and keep up hitting just the bottles you want.”

“Yes, Lenna.”

Lenna walked out, put up another row of bottles, and walked back for Bieslook to retry. Other mages used the training dummies, which they could make last longer, but Lenna didn’t want Bieslook to be shooting at pretend people. She’d gone to the Alchemists’ Guild, and got from them a very large box of vials, bottles, and beakers that had failed their quality checks. They’d be thrown away anyway, and they made perfect targets. She watched Bieslook anxiously, ready to stop her if she’d over-exert herself. Though Lenna loved Bieslook as much as her own children, she was not hers. When Bieslook and her father, Vernon Sparkmantle, had to make their escape from Gnomeregan, years ago, he had taught Bieslook two high-powered spells to defend herself. Children her age should never have learnt that kind of magic, because only a mature, practiced mind could handle the energies involved. But it had been an act of desperation on Vernon’s part. He had been overwhelmed by enemies, and the only way to keep Bieslook safe was to teach her, then sacrifice himself in a massive blaze of destruction. Griggin, on his way out of Gnomeregan, had found her, with singed clothes, under a bed in the dormitory. Bieslook’s only family, her uncle Eustace, or Magis Sparkmantle, could not take her in, so Bieslook had stayed with the Steambenders. Only now, with careful training from Lenna and her teacher Jennea Cannon, was Bieslook able to control the energies enough so that she could cast fire spells without getting the terrible headaches she did.

“Again, Bies. See if you can knock just the tops off this time.”

“Yes, Lenna,” said Bieslook, and raised her arms again. “Fireballs at dawn!”

Lenna chuckled to herself. Fireballs At Dawn was a regular punishment threatened on the flock. She never really shot fireballs at her children, no matter how much they deserved it sometimes. But Bieslook was a spunge for phrases like that, and it had stuck. She watched Bieslook take the tops off the bottles. She was a good shot with her low-powered fireballs. Once control had become second nature to her, they could start allowing her to use more power again. That would likely take several years, though. For now, it was just a game.

The door opened, and Jennea Cannon walked in, looking worried.

“Lenna? Can I talk to you for a moment?”

“Sure,” said Lenna. “Bies? Hold your fire for a bit. What’s up Miss Jennea?”

“Your husband was just here, and…”

“Oh my goodness. Interalia is popping? I’ll get my things. Bies! We’re heading home!”

Jennea Cannon raised her hand. “Wait! Don’t go home. Mr. Steambender asks you to stay away for a while. There was, and I quote, ‘An ultimately unsuccessful attack on the manor.’ He told me to stress that. Unsuccessful. Apparently, the house defences are up and nobody can get in.”

“That’s nice,” said Lenna. “So who’s going to deliver the baby?”

“As I understand it, help is under way,” said Jennea Cotton.

Lenna looked up at the woman, twice her own height. She thought for a while, then laughed to herself. “Griggin’s run off his feet, or he would have come in. He doesn’t want to argue with me now. He’ll have told Nix first because Daddy trumps even Granny. If there’s been an attack on the Manor, he needs to alert the guards. Interalia is home. He’s out, so Raven’s home with her. My husband, are you going for the guards or the priestess?” Lenna rubbed her chin thoughtfully for a while. “Priestess. They need to get rid of the attackers first, and they’re locked in. Nix will get in there with the cavalry, then Griggin will arrive when the coast is clear. Now what do I do?”

“Lenna. It sounds like they have things under control. The first priority is to keep little Bieslook safe, so she doesn’t get involved in all this.”

Lenna grinned. “Oh thank you, Miss Jennea. That is a most generous offer. Bieslook? Miss Jennea is going to help you make more pretty lights while I go and talk to Griggin. Now what do we say to the nice lady?”

Bieslook bounced up and down, waving her arms in the air. “Thank you miss, thank you!”

Lenna grabbed her staff, waved, and ran out of the door.

Jennea Cannon looked at the young Gnome girl. The young adorable Gnome girl, and her bright blue eyes. She went down on one knee.

“Little girl, I’m going to teach you a spell. Lenna will be so proud of you if you learn it, but it’s very simple. Want to know the magic words?”

Bieslook’s eyes shone. “Oh yes Miss. Yes please!”

“Good. These are the magic words. Repeat after me.” Jennea Cannon grinned with pure malice. “I want a pony. I want a pony.”


Thunderpetal was walking back to the Pandaren camp from Old Town. He’d be travelling a lot, so he wanted to make a few stacks of pounded rice cakes for the journey. While it was true that you needed only the rice to make them, Thunderpetal liked to make them a bit more interesting to eat with a few herbs and spices. He’d just found an unknown variety of garlic in Mrs. Fadeleaf’s herb store, and he was quite looking forward to experimenting with it.

As he passed in front of the entrance to the Deeprun Tram, he saw Trixie sitting on a rain barrel, watching the entrance. He walked over.

“Good day, T’li-chi. Smell this. Does it not make you hungry?”

Trixie looked up. “Garlic,” she said.

Thunderpetal looked her over carefully, then sat down next to her.

“Not just any garlic! They are Mrs. Fadeleaf’s roasted Allium Ursinum. We grow much garlic in Pandaria, but it is warmer there than it is here, and plants here grow slower, which does the flavour much good.”

“Ah,” said Trixie.

“Come with me, and you can taste my rice cakes. Cooking is better when someone shares the food with you.”

Trixie took a deep breath, looked at the entrance to the Deeprun Tram and sighed. Thunderpetal gently put his big hand on Trixie’s shoulder. Trixie looked up at him, too hard and tough and badass to cry.

“Tell me of Li-cha.”

“What’s the point? Can’t have him. His father says no.”

“I have learnt the wisdom of a thousand emperors. One of them must have had your trouble.”

Trixie looked up, saying nothing. Thunderpetal leant over to her.

“And all of them are dead for a long time, so you can ignore them without offending them. Some of them are full of hozen dung anyway.”

Trixie snorted, shook her head. Her eyes returned to the Tram. She pointed.

“That tunnel goes all the way to Ironforge. There’s a train running in it. Takes you into the Dwarf city within the hour. If it runs.”

“A great work,” said Thunderpetal.

“When it was just new, one of my Dad’s apprentices had gone bad. Taken my Mum into one of the old tunnel borers. He was going to kill her to get at my Dad. Richard and Nix and me pulled her out of there.” Trixie looked up into Thunderpetal’s eyes. “Richard just walked in there with me. No questions. We all could have died there. Spent a lot of time dying there, too. That Bezoar was a right nasty git. He had a few close calls at Sentinel Hill, too. I’ve seen the scars.”

Li-cha has the courage of the best of the No-mu,” said Thunderpetal. “I meet him only briefly, before you take him away to do things that wise Monks do not comment on, but that I can see.”

Trixie stared into the tunnel. “So if he’s so brave… why doesn’t he just tell his dad that I’m his girlfriend?”

Thunderpetal reached into his bag, and pulled out a packet of ginger and chocolate biscuits. He offered one to Trixie. She shook her head. Thunderpetal pulled a gruff face.

“I forgive you for not knowing, but to refuse food from a Pandaren is a grave insult. Have the biscuit, or prepare to fight.”

Trixie looked at him. Then, she gave a snort of laughter and took one. Thunderpetal had one as well. Thinking was always easier while chewing something.

“You ask much of Li-cha. To defy one’s ancestors, is a grave matter. When we visit Master Wu Shen, you and Il-hsa speak of learning talents of… Fury? This is something you wish to do, yes?”

“Oh yeah! You can do all kinds of cool stuff when you’re fury!”

“But Guli-jin does not want you to.”

“He says it’ll make me too aggressive. Which is a load of…” Trixie swallowed the rest of her words. Thunderpetal smiled.

“Hozen dung? It is not easy to show disrespect, or is it? Why do you not simply find a teacher in Ironforge to teach you? All it takes is some money. You have money, yes?”

Trixie’s eyes grew large. “Dad would kill me. Literally. Kill me. And then ground me till I’m an old woman.” Trixie looked at her feet. “So you’re saying I should just give up? You’re probably right. It was never meant to be.”

Thunderpetal gave Trixie a push on the shoulder that almost sent her flying off the rain barrel.

“Silly No-mu. Think of water flowing round the rock. Always a way.” Thunderpetal looked into Trixie’s eyes. “Li-cha‘s father is not your ancestor. You can defy him all you want. Show him what a wonderful young woman you are.”

“Trix!” Nix ran up, in the company of the most unsavoury gang of shady characters Trixie had ever seen. Most of them were in his class.

“What’s up?”

“Interalia! She’s in labour! There’s been an attack! Get off your butt and follow me!”

Trixie looked at Thunderpetal. “Trouble. Got to run.”

Thunderpetal got up. “Then I run with you.”


“That was five minutes. Getting there.”

“Dammit! Where is that husband of mine? He’s going to get a right earful when he does get in.”

“Heh. You’re giving birth. You get to hurl abuse at everybody. You’re not getting any sharp things, though.”

“That’s what you think! I’ve still got…”

Raven smiled sweetly at Interalia and held up her throwing knife.

“You’ll get it back later.”

Interalia glared at Raven. “You bitch! Taking advantage of a pregnant woman!”

Raven laughed, and lightly tossed the knife aside. “That’s no way to talk to the only friendly face in the room.”

“You’re right,” said Interalia. She held out her arms. “I’m sorry.”

Raven did a kind of inside eye-roll, and gave Interalia a hug.

“It’s alright.”

She heard Interalia giggle, and felt something sharp against her back. With a speed she’d never before managed to achieve, Raven slapped away Interalia’s arm and sent the knife she’d apparently taken from her belt clattering on the floor. She had Interalia by the throat, and looked into her eyes from an inch away.

“Your tiny little brain is turned to mush because you’re giving birth, you’re in pain and hormones are sloshing all over the place. So I’ll let this slide this time.” Raven’s hand tightened slightly on Interalia’s throat. “But if you ever, ever, try a stunt like that again, I’ll rip you to pieces. Got that?”

Interalia choked. Raven released her hand so she could breathe.

“Sorry Raven. Wasn’t thinking.”

Raven sat up. “Also, if you start to push, and little legs come out, I’m out of here. Just saying.”

Interalia laughed quietly. “Sister Lily said the head is down and I’m built like a wardrobe. Nice girl, is Lily. I’m really sorry, Raven. I forgot I’m not the only one here who’s hurting.”

“Oh, push it out already.”


Nix ran up to the door and rang the bell. Nothing happened. He banged on the door while the parcel of rogues behind him looked on in amusement.

“Someone’s in the dog house,” one said.

“Forgot their anniversary. That’s always bad.”

“Hang on, anniversary? It’s only been nine months hasn’t it?”

“Oh shut up,” said Nix.

“What’s the problem? Forgotten how to pick a lock?”

Nix looked over his shoulder. “I made this lock. The only one who could pick it is inside.”

“Hang on…” one of the rogues looked at Nix. “You live here, don’t you?”

“Yeah?”

“Surely, you have a key?”

“Gosh,” said another rogue. “Never thought of that!”

“Disabled when the defences are up,” said Nix. He rang the bell again. One of the ornamental owls on the wall turned its head. Nix waved.

“Turn the valve next to the door!”

The owl shook its head.

“Stop messing about Raven! Open the sodding door!”

There was the hiss of steam, then the door opened. Raven’s head poked out.

“What’s the magic word?”

“Or I’ll kick your butt.”

“Those are five words,” said Raven, standing back so the rogues of varying sizes could enter.

“Cor. Some good swag here.”

“Try it,” said Trixie. “Go on. See what happens.”

Nix!”

“Oo mate! It’s the missus calling.”

“Better go running!”

Interalia squeezed Nix’ hand into a pulp, uttering a string of Gnomish words no dictionary would ever list. Raven looked on. The contraction finished. Interalia lay back, eyes closed.

“That’s forty seconds, and another kind of animal you’ve got carnal knowledge of. Is there no end to your talents?”

“Shutup,” said Interalia, without opening her eyes.

“Shutup,” said Nix. “By the way, aren’t my classmates emptying out the place? If they annoy Trix too much, it’ll be a bloodbath.”

“Taken care of,” said Raven with a smug smile.

“What, empty already?”

“Divide and conquer. I took one of them aside and told him that I’d share the loot with him if he’d help me shift it. Then I told the same to the other one. They’re now watching each other like hawks.”

“They fell for that?”

“I look friendly and trustworthy and cute and innocent.”

“Not to mention easy to fool. Augh!” Interalia screwed her eyes shut. The contraction lasted about as long as the last one.

“Nix, check for dilation.”

“Eh?”

Raven rolled her eyes. “How open is she?”

Nix looked. “Um…”

“For Humans, it should be about four inches. Don’t know what that translates to for Gnomes.”

“That looks like it is never going to come right again.”

Interalia growled. “What exactly are you worried about?”

“Sod all this,” said Raven. “Short stuff? Next contraction, you push. Let’s get this over with before dinner.”


Mathias shaw walked up to the door. He’d been told the correct address, but he could guess that the house would be the one with a very large Pandaren sitting in front of it in a meditative pose. The large bear-like creature watched him with a friendly, serene expression on his face.

“Good afternoon,” said Mathias Shaw.

“Greetings, friend,” said Thunderpetal.

“If I may ask, what are you doing here?”

Thunderpetal nodded his head. “Because I am too large to fit through the door, I am become the door.”

“Right,” said Shaw. “May we enter?”

“Do those inside wish you to enter?”

“I hope so. I am the man who will help them get rid of the bodies.”

Shaw walked into the living room in some kind of crouch. Stupid Dwarfs. Normally, they preferred cavernous halls, as some kind of compensation perhaps. A few under-graduates were sitting on the floor cheating each other at dice.

“What in Azeroth are you doing here, except skiving off class?”

There were screams coming from one of the bedrooms.

“Learning Gnomish, Guv’nor.”

Shaw’s eyes fell on a plate-wearing Gnomish girl. She was looking at him with large blue eyes. The image of idyllic innocence was spoiled a bit by her hands resting on the pommel of a broadsword that was resting on the floor in front of her.

“And who may you be?” said Trixie.

“Shaw. Mathias Shaw. I’m here to help you with your infestation of Humans. I hope to have all Humans out of here in about half an hour.”

Trixie grinned. “Leave Raven. We’ve got used to her. We feed her, so she probably counts as a pet.”

Push! Push damn you!”

Interalia’s face was red. Her eyes were screwed shut. Nix was holding her hand and stroking it, muttering words of encouragement, telling her to breathe. Raven was at the other end, feeling she had rather got the wrong end of the stick. She’d only seen this done a few times in hospital, and apart from catching the child before it hit the wall, she really hadn’t a clue.

“Look, shrimp, I can see the kid’s head poking out and then it goes back in again. I don’t want to see my breakfast again! Bloody push harder!”

Interalia lay back in the pillows, catching her breath. Then, she took a few short breaths and tried again.

“Yes! Come on! Almost!”

Interalia gave an ear-splitting yell, that seemed to last for minutes.

“Yes! Keep up! Keep going! Oh gods…”

Raven slowly breathed in. In her large, five-fingered Human hands lay a tiny. tiny person. With one hand, she wiped the blood and gore off the tiny face. The head was on her fingers. The legs were in the air, bare buttocks were half way up her wrist. Then, it gave a little cough, took its first breath and roared its opinion of this treatment. There were cheers coming from the living room and Trixie came running in.

Raven looked up at Nix and Interalia.

“It’s a girl,” she said.


Raven sat with her back to the living room wall, cross-legged. She’d tied off the umbilical cord with two handy shoelaces, cut it with her black knife, handed the girl to Interalia and left the room. She was supposed to keep an eye on the goings-on, but really she was just staring ahead of her. Someone sat down next to her. She looked up to see Mathias Shaw.

“I’ve gained all the information I can from the scene. We’re cleaning up now. Should be out of here in a few minutes.”

“Good,” said Raven.

“How are you doing?”

“Fine,” said Raven. What else was there to say?

“We’re nearly done cleaning up here. As a special service, we’ve also cleared the bedroom.” Mathias Shaw looked at the door. “Removing bloodstains from fabrics is a bit of a speciality of the Fourth Finger.”

Raven only nodded. Of course.

“You really are a young lady of remarkable talents. I am deeply impressed with you. To think of you running with those Old Barracks thugs… it really is a crime.”

“Thanks,” said Raven. She gave Shaw a long look.

“Do you want to run with my gang instead? I’m afraid you would not be allowed to rob Stormwind’s citizenry, but the pay is good, and working for the King does have a certain glamour.”

A little smile was on Raven’s lips. “Mr. Shaw, a girl could be forgiven for thinking you fancy her.”

Shaw leaned his head back against the wall, laughing quietly to himself. “Well, Miss Raven, that is because in fact, I do. There is something about young, intelligent, dark-haired women that I find quite irresistible. Which is why, sadly, I am not allowed simply to give you a job. My weaknesses as well as my strengths are well known. But if I whisper a few words to my recruitment officers, one of those rather melodramatic little invitations may well find its way to you.”

Raven slowly nodded.

“Oh. One thing, though. If ever you felt moved to betray us, you would be dead before you knew what hit you. We must insist on complete loyalty.”

“About that,” said Raven. “Baltar got away.”

“Yes,” said Shaw. “That is embarrassing. I would have expected him to be caught by now, but he has proven to be more resourceful than I expected him to be. I may have to devote more resources to this matter.”

Raven looked at his face. He was not very old, thirties perhaps, but he had wrinkles round his eyes. His small beard was meticulously trimmed. His eyes looked like they had seen enough to remove any illusion about how bad a place the world could be, and still there was hope in them. He smiled at her.

“And I know just the people to ask.”


The door opened, and Griggin and Lenna came in with Lisa Springwater, the Gnomish priestess. Raven got up and followed them into the bedroom to answer any questions. Interalia was lying back on clean sheets, with a little bundle of linen clutched to her.

“Oh look who came in,” she said. “You’re too late Sister. Look what I got! It’s a little person!”

“Aww,” said the Priestess. “Not too late to look you over. Let us have a look at you… oh dear. Such nice clean sheets.”

“Huh?” Interalia gave Sister Springwater a look. Then, her eyes grew large and she put her hand on her stomach.

“Towels!” said Sister Springwater.

“Oh gods,” said Interalia. “There’s not another one in there, is there?”

Sister Springwater grinned broadly. “Yay afterbirth! And just in time. Aren’t you happy to see me now?”

Interalia was lying back on the bed once more, muttering dire curses at the address of the Universe at large. Lisa Springwater had just declared the procedure over and done with, and was casting a few healing spells. The young girl had the right number of fingers and toes (eight of each), and was now attached to Interalia’s breast, having been given a clean bill of health.

“Oi Raven,” said Interalia. “Feeling broody yet?”

Raven thought back on the last hour or so.

Hell no.”

“Oh by the way. Want to know what her name is?”

“Go on.”

“Nix and I have decided to call her Aubrey.”

Raven gave a little laugh. “Aubrey?”

“Yep. Good name, isn’t it?”

Raven reached out and put her finger up to Aubrey’s palm. Aubrey gripped it tight, without allowing herself to be distracted from the serious business of nutrition.

“I don’t need that name anymore,” said Raven. “Good luck kid… Aubrey.”

Part 10: Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: